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Evolutionary Living

The Big Idea for Saturday, April 20, 2013

The Dutch/American biologist Frans de Waal explores examples of altruistic behavior in primates such as chimpanzees. So could mankind be altruistic without religion? In today's lesson, Waal sees the Dutch classic "The Garden of Earthly Delights," as the perfect illustration of humanism.

"Some people find those paintings morbid or horrifying," he tells us, "and that’s because he showed Hellish scenes. But actually The Garden of Earthly Delights, most of that painting is delightful."

Waal has in mind the "Bonobo-like situation where people frolic around" in the central panel. "There’s actually a thousand people in that middle part who are having sex or having other adventures going on," Waal points out. That's what humanity would look without God and without religion.

Perspectives

  1. 1 Imagine No Religion. Here's What It Looks Like.
    Daniel Honan Think Tank
  2. 2 Penn Jillette: An Atheist's Guide to the 2012 Election
    Penn Jillette
  3. 3 Richard Dawkins Imagines a World Without God
    Richard Dawkins
 

Evolutionary Living

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